Few days ago I was going Jaipur. Plants on both side of the Delhi- Jaipur highway were swaying in the breeze. My car stopped at a red-light. A filthy woman, carrying a infant in her one arm and few books in another hand knocked the window of my car. Woman was pale looking like suffering from acute anaemia and infant was a pathetic picture of malnutrition. Though it is a common scene on almost every red- light of all metro cities, but , that day I was deeply moved by the plight of the woman.
I directed my driver to park the car and came out. During few minutes chat with her I came to know her husband is suffering from tuberculosis and child has been in the grip of fever since last many days. Her one daughter died due to non-availability of proper medicine.She had no money to consult a doctor and purchase medicine. While narrating her misery she was in tears. I purchased a copy of ‘Pyjamas are forgiving’ (authored by Twinkle Khanna) and gave her one thousand rupees. I moved ahead. But the misery of the woman haunted me for hours. I was disturbed and sad. Her name was Shakuntala .
Such scenario prevails all over country due to socio- economic problem. India is presently in a state of health transition. I have read somewhere that infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, pandemic influenza and antimicrobial resistance as well as chronicle non – communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer etc are posing serious threat and emerging as major causes of mortality.
Rate of infant and maternal death is alarming. Suddenly I recalled the lives of great saints Swami Vivekananda and Mother Teresa. They both established many hospitals and related medical infrastructures to provide free and adequate treatment to poor. I, too, help downtrodden residing in Delhi and a number of times even of Jharkhand. I have my limitations. Undoubtedly India is making phenomenal progress but if one man dies due to financial constraints it will be shame on part of entire country.
In prevailing such unfortunate situation Prime Minister Mr. Narendar Modi came as saviour. On 23rd September he will launch centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission from the land of Jharkhand. It will cover more than 10 crore Poor and Vulnerable families. It is an insurance scheme which covers costing upto Rs 5 lakh per family per year for medical treatment. Present medical infrastructures will be upgraded and new will come up. It will generate employment especially for women.
Certainly there would be many challenges while implementing this scheme. This is the time and call of the hour that every citizen, organisation especially Private Hospitals will have to be co-operative and human. Let us wish now no ‘ Shakuntala’ meets on red- light of metro cities or anywhere in country.
Inputs: Priya Jain, Philanthropist & Social Entrepeneur